Wonderful Engineering

10 Amazing Facts About Black Holes That You Never Knew

Though the theories regarding the formation of the black holes are rampant in the scientific world, the most probable theory suggests that black holes are formed by the collapse of a massive star onto itself, whereby the whole structure of time and space is changed.

All matter, including light, is consumed by the sheer force of gravity exerted by the black holes. The intriguing mystery of what lies beyond the “point of no return” of a black hole has prompted scientists to conduct years of research; however, no conclusive answer has ever been discovered.


Image Source: NASA

Black Holes Do Not Pull In The Objects

Owing to the depiction of the black holes in the Hollywood pictures, the common notion is that black holes suck up everything around them. Contrary to the popular belief, black holes are just like all the other astronomical bodies. The Earth will continue its normal orbital motion if the sun is replaced by a black hole, having the same mass as that of the sun.


Image Source: Public Domain

Black Holes Were Not Discovered By Einstein

Albeit the prediction of the existence of the black holes in the general theory of relativity proposed by Einstein, it was Karl Schwarzschild who discovered the “point of no return”. Schwarzschild radius is the measure of shrinking an object to convert it into a black hole. Even before Schwarzschild, Michell from Britain envisioned “dark stars” with such huge gravitational pull that even the light could not escape it.


Image Source: Public Domain

Black Holes Stretch Everything, Including You

Black holes have the ability to lengthen everything that comes under their influence and the process is called “spaghettification”. The huge gravitational pull creates a difference in attraction on various parts of the object, based on its distance from the center of gravity.

The part of the object that keeps getting closer to the center of gravity will keep speeding up as well. On the other hand, the part farther from the gravitational center of the black hole will not speed up as quickly, resulting in Spaghettification.


Image Source: NASA

Black Holes Could Give Birth To New Universes

The theory, as wild as it may sound, suggests that the singularity at the center of the black holes defies all laws of physics and thus, it can change the conditions that gave birth to our universe and spawn a new version of the universe that would slightly differ from ours!


Image Source: Cassini

Black Holes Literally Pull The Space Around Them

The Einstein’s theory of General Relativity suggests that space is much like a grid lined rubber sheet which sinks under the weight of an object placed on it, thus warping the grid lines. Being the heaviest astronomical objects, black holes curve the space-time fabric even more than the other astral bodies creating such deep wells that even light does not have enough energy to climb out of them.


Image Source: Eso

Black Holes Are The Most Efficient Energy Generation Sources

Black holes are the most effective energy sources, bypassing the sun in our solar system. The material orbiting around a black hole varies in speed depending on its placement around the fringe of the event horizon. The stronger gravitational pull near the event horizon implies faster spinning of the materials on the inner edge as compared to those on the outer edge. This rapid movement raises the temperature of the orbital materials up to billions of degrees Fahrenheit, thus emitting energy in the form of black body radiations. The efficiency of the energy conversion can be estimated from the fact that a nuclear fusion reaction transforms only 0.7% of the mass into energy as compared to the 10% mass to energy conversion from the blackbody radiation.


Image Source: AP

Sagittarius A, The Supermassive Black Hole Resides At The Center Of The Milky Way

Sagittarius A is about four million times heavier than our sun. Theory indicates that the same type of supermassive black hole must exist in all the galaxies. These supermassive black holes serve as anchors to hold our galaxy in the space. The researchers believe that Sagittarius A exploded in a massive explosion more than 2 million years ago, which could have been viewed on the Earth as well.


Image Source: Flickr/Nick

Black Holes Makes The Clock Go Slower

As you near the point of no return, the time also slows down. The twin experiment used to explain the general theory of relativity is often the best example to illustrate this aspect of the black holes. Thus, as you approach the event horizon, your speed will be so fast that the time would slow down.


Image Source: Ho New

Black Holes Vanish With Time

The latest theory, originally proposed by the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking in 1974, suggests that the black holes can actually allow some energy to escape via Hawking Radiation, whereby the black hole will vanish and fade with the passage of time. The phenomenon is also known as the black hole evaporation.


Image Source: Reuters

Theoretically, Anything Can Become A Black Hole

The black holes get their extreme gravitational pull from the tremendously dense material at their center. Theory suggests that if the sun shrinks to a diameter of 3.7 miles, i.e. all of its mass gets concentrated into the same space; it will transform into a black hole. The same theory can be applied to all matter.

However, the idea is not feasible in reality!